Dumpstaphunk returns to where the band began

Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk has reached the 10-year mark. The band returns to where it began, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Saturday, April 27.

In 2003, Dumpstaphunk played what Neville expected to be a one-time gig at Jazz Fest. But the group — then featuring drummer Raymond Weber, two bass players, Nick Daniels and Tony Hall, and Neville’s guitar-playing cousin, Ian Neville — played a few more shows in the couple of years that followed.

“We kind of played seasonally in New Orleans, maybe during Mardi Gras time and Jazz Fest,” Ivan Neville said of Dumpstaphunk. “It was a lot of fun.”

The group also played festivals such as Bonnaroo and, that floating festival, Jam Cruise. Meanwhile, Neville continued to work with the Neville Brothers band and Hall played in the Trey Anastasio Band.

Dumpstaphunk got busier after Hurricane Katrina. The group’s members couldn’t help but see that this part-time thing was special. “Musically, we all respect one another and like to listen to one another play,” Neville said. “So that dynamic was the start of it. Once we started doing it and people were digging it, we realized that the thing that we do, not many groups at the time were doing what we were doing.

“So we figured, ‘Wow, let’s keep this thing up.’ And it started growing. It grew legs and we went with it.”

Prior to Dumpstaphunk, Neville played in Rolling Stone Keith Richards’ band, Bonnie Raitt’s band and for the Rolling Stones’ 1986 album, Dirty Work.

Neville also released three solo albums, but his reasons for liking Dumpstaphunk include the chance to let other members of the band sing lead.

“We got five people in this band and four of us can actually sing,” he said. “It’s cool to just kind of take turns driving.”

In its 10th anniversary year, Dumpstaphunk is releasing its third studio album, Dirty Word. The project runs from funk to rock to blues to straight-up New Orleans second line.

“The groove usually makes you move, but there are a lot of other ingredients,” Neville said. “We like to mix it up, throw it in a pot and see what comes out.”

Dirty Word features drummer Nikki Glaspie, who replaced Weber, and guest stars Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Neville family member Art Neville; Ani DiFranco; Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews; and the Rebirth Brass Band.

“It was not like we planned to have all these guests,” Neville said. “People just happened to be around. Flea from the Chili Peppers is a friend of mine. He happened to be in town and we got him to play on a song.”

In addition to Dumpstaphunk’s Saturday gig at Jazz Fest, the group is appearing Friday, April 26, at Howlin’ Wolf; Saturday, April 27, at Maison; Wednesday, May 1, at the Louisiana Music Factory; and Sunday, May 5, at Tipitina’s for its guest-filled 10th anniversary show. The band members also will be making many other Jazz Fest-time appearances with various musical configurations.

“I’m glad that’s the kind of job I got, playing a bunch of music,” Neville said. “I’m doing a little more hours than I normally would do, but it’s not like I’m lifting sacks or loading a truck. I’m going to play some music. Let the festivities begin.”

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